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Peabody seeks bankruptcy protection; Midstream spending to fall by billions

Top news

has filed for Chapter 11bankruptcy protection just weeks after warning it might do so. The filings with the U.S.Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri include the majority ofPeabody's U.S. entities but excludes its Australian operations.

Wind was the largest source for new capacity again in 2015, AWEAsays

Windwas the number one source of power for new electric capacity installed in 2015,recapturing that crown from natural gas, according to the American Wind EnergyAssociation's latest "U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report,"released April 12.

Thecollapse in North American oil and gas prices will cut midstream spending bybillions of dollars a year through 2035, according to an updated study from thepipeline industry. Midstream spending is now projected to average about $26 billion ayear from 2015 to 2035, or $546 billion in total, with a greater focus onnatural gas infrastructure, an ICF International report prepared for the INGAAFoundation said.

Largelythe result of a wounded coal sector, there are counties in West Virginia wheremore than one-third of the citizens are out of work. This article is part one in athree-part series stemming from discussions around "Building a ResilientWest Virginia," the theme of the National Energy Conference 2016 sponsoredby the West Virginia University College of Law.

Power

*Analysts and restructuring experts believe that financial instabilitysurrounding SunEdisonInc. is threatening its yieldco units — and —according to Reutersreported. If the parent files for bankruptcy, the yieldcos could be forced tojoin. The units, however, emphasized that they "do not rely substantiallyon SunEdison for funding or liquidity."

*The U.S. Senate's sweeping energy bill remains bogged down by resistance to two potentialprovisions, including financial aid for the Flint, Mich., water crisis, butsources say the legislation could be back on the Senate floor soon.

*Vestas has entered intoa conditional agreement to supply wind turbines for a 600 MW project in theU.S., according to a newsrelease. The company will build the facility in collaboration withXcel Energy Inc., theDenverBusiness Journal reported.

*Alliance for Solar Choice is opposing a request from subsidiary toadd a $2.75/kW charge on monthly electric bills of customers, TheDaily Progress in Claremore, Okla., reported. Upon approval, therequest would add $7.22 each month to customers' bills starting in July.

*Canadian solar company SkyPowerLtd is on a hunt for partners to build its projects in India, Reutersreported, citing CEO Kerry Adler.

Natural gas/midstream

*Oil and natural gas company said it has enteredinto a stalking horse asset purchase agreement with a subsidiary of toacquire Marcellus and Utica assets in central Greene County, Pa., for $200million in cash. Separately, the company has pricedan offering of 29,858,891 shares of its common stock at $16.35 per share tohelp finance the purchase and for general corporate purposes.

*Philadelphia Gas WorksCo.'s lack of transparency about its acquisition-linked executivecompensation differedsharply compared to the utility's other budget disclosures, a municipaloversight body saidrecently.

*The Law Offices of Vincent Wong said it has filed aclass-action lawsuit against Sempra Energy on behalf of investors who purchased thecompany's securities between May 14, 2015, and Nov. 23, 2015.

*Consumer Watchdog is challenginga state finding that California may face 14 days of summer blackouts as aresult of the Aliso Canyon gas leak. "We urge you to immediately call CPUCPresident Michael Picker and other energy regulators to appear under oath andexplain these reports' misrepresentations and omissions, as well as to whatdegree [Southern California GasCo.] authored the report meant to justify its continued use of thefacilities," Consumer Watchdog said in a letter to legislative leaders.

Coal

* is reportedlynearing an agreement with a group of bondholders under which coal magnate ChrisCline would invest cash to repay creditors, BloombergNews reported, citing "people with knowledge of the matter." Themove could help the company stave off bankruptcy.

* A federaljudge April 11 ruled that the U.S. Interior Department from the NationalRegister of Historic Places the site of the Blair Mountain Battlefield — thesite of the largest armed labor conflict in U.S. history between coal minersand strikebreakers.

*Jim Justice criticized the outcome of the Don Blankenship saying that he was"sorry" the former Massey Energy CEO was only able to be sentenced ona misdemeanor charge, according to the Charleston(W.Va.) Gazette-Mail. Justice, who is running for the office ofGovernor in West Virginia, is himself a "controversial coal operator, witha history of not paying his federal safety fines on time," the paper notes.

*U.S. railroad company CSXCorp. reporteda decline in its first-quarter 2016 revenues and profits as a result of a31% year-over-year decrease in coal freight volumes. The company'sfirst-quarter 2016 net earnings were down to $356 million, or 37 cents pershare, from $442 million, or 45 cents per share, in the corresponding quarterof 2015.

Commodities

*Natural gas storagecould prevent an immediate price response to the developing La Niña weatherpattern that has historically supported sharp price gains, but for prices tobegin to increase, with producers playing an important role in the recoveryprocess, CME Group executive director and economist Erik Norland said.

*Having already predicted natural gas' topping coal as the nation's top source of electricity,the U.S. government lowered its2016 outlook for power-sector coal consumption to below 700 milliontons.

Quoted

"Wehave some counties in West Virginia that are in a Great Depression. We have afew places in our state that have lost one-third of their jobs, just over thelast few years," said John Deskins, director, West Virginia UniversityBureau of Business and Economic Research on coal's impact on the state.

The day ahead

*Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. equitymarkets. To view more SNL equity market indexes, click here.To view more SNL Energy commodities prices, click here.